See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Opinion

Reimpose sanctions against Myanmar

Bangladeshi senior adviser Gowher Rizvi is calling for the reimposition of sanctions against Myanmar for its role in the Rohingya crisis.


Written by

Updated: April 4, 2018

Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi has called for re-imposition of sanctions against Myanmar as a way to put pressure on the Southeast Asian country accused of genocide.

“We have to re-impose the sanction because the sanction was removed as a goodwill and a gesture of good behaviour to come from Myanmar,” he said.

He said the sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime were withdrawn following the emergence of democracy in the country.

Eventually, it resulted in the end of Myanmar’s isolation from the rest of the world. Foreign investment was also made in the country.

Rizvi said he wondered why mass killings, genocide and ethnic cleansing took place at a time when the world was supporting Myanmar.

“So there is no longer time to debate if sanctions work or not,” he said at the conclusion of a two-day international conference yesterday.

BRAC University, Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University and ActionAid Bangladesh, an NGO, jointly organised the conference on “Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions” at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Hall of Dhaka University.

The conference adopted a 16-point Dhaka Declaration, calling upon the international community to ensure a voluntary, dignified and safe return of the Rohingyas, who fled atrocities, including killings, rapes and burning of houses, in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Rizvi said EU’s travel ban on Myanmar’s military leaders had been a useful start and now it was the need of the day to revisit the question of market access and investment in Myanmar.

“Without pressure, nothing will happen. Myanmar won’t be secure for the Rohingyas. If Myanmar is not secure, Rohingyas will not go back,” Rizvi said.

Repatriation of the Rohingyas seems uncertain though Myanmar signed a deal with Bangladesh in this regard in November last year.

Bangladesh sent a list of over 8,000 Rohingyas, but Myanmar provided one with some 600 verified names only.

The international community has been critical of the security situation in Rakhine where Rohingya houses were burnt and the vegetation cleared.  Security installations were also being built. There are reports of ethnic Rakhines being rehabilitated in lands once owned by the Rohingyas.

Myanmar said it has built temporary camps for the returnee Rohingyas before they are rehabilitated to their own homes.

The minority community though has demanded citizenship, recognition as an ethnic Rohingya community and a UN-controlled safe zone in Rakhine.

He said the current Rohingya crisis is not a result of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and subsequent violence only, but it is a well-planned strategy devised by Myanmar.

Rohingyas were listed as citizens in Myanmar’s 1948 constitution but their citizenship was invalidated in the 1982 citizenship law, which led to several waves of violence and exodus.

Bangladesh had no alternative to accepting the Rohingyas under such a humanitarian crisis. Then, in good faith, they went ahead bilaterally with Myanmar for a solution, but Myanmar hardly made any concessions, he said.

“We didn’t create the problem, but Myanmar [did]. So the solution lies with Myanmar,” Rizvi told the international audience, adding that every Rohingya wants to go back to Myanmar but only if their citizenship and legitimate rights are guaranteed.

“If Myanmar can get away, there will be no security of minorities anywhere in the world. So, we really need to wake up,” he said and called for “extraordinary international support” for the Rohingyas.

The participants in the discussion called upon the UN and other members of the international community so diplomatic channels for sufficient humanitarian assistance are used and the rights of Rohingya women, children and other vulnerable groups in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar are protected.

The diplomats, academics, foreign relations experts from 11 countries, including India, Thailand, US, UK, Sweden, Singapore, Malaysia and Bangladesh, also called upon the international community to comprehensively investigate the ongoing acts of genocide, mass atrocities, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

In the Dhaka Declaration — read out by Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University — they demanded prosecution and punishment of those responsible.

It also called upon Myanmar and the international community to address the issues of loss and damages caused by the exodus of the Rohingya.

The Dhaka Declaration emphasised on Myanmar’s responsibility in restoring and protecting citizenship rights and human dignity for the Rohingya.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed said while Bangladesh goes on with bilateral negotiation with Myanmar, it is crucial to deeply engage the international community.

“Rohingya crisis is not a bilateral issue; it is very much an international one. So, it has to be addressed internationally,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said he saw progress in the repatriation process. Initially, Myanmar refused to engage the UN Refugee Agency in the process but they did so later.

A Myanmar delegation, which is visiting Bangladesh in the middle of April, agreed to visit Rohingya camps.

“This is surely progress,” Haque said.

Manzoor Hasan, executive director of the Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University and Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, also spoke at the concluding ceremony.

(This article originally appeared in the Daily Star)



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Opinion

Chinese FDI in US plunges as obstacles rise

Trade war has far reaching ramifications on investment. Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States plummeted more than 80 percent in 2018, and the downturn is expected to continue, given tighter US regulatory screening and policy shifts in China, analysts have said. After declining from a peak of $48 billion in 2016 to $31 billion in 2017, Chinese FDI in North America dropped to $8 billion in 2018, and total investment in Europe was also down, according to the latest analysis from law firm Baker McKenzie. The US was responsible for the majority of this, falling from a peak of $45.63 billion in 2016 and $29 billion in 2017 to just $5 billion in 2018, down 83 percent, said the report released on Monday. “The FDI flows are declining for both Europe and America, and the decline is because Europe and America are getting more restrictive, particularly in technology areas, so that’


By China Daily
January 18, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Senior North Korean official to deliver letter to Trump

Speculation that the two leaders could meet in Hanoi as early as February. North Korea’s chief negotiator in US-North Korea talks, Kim Yong-chol, is expected to deliver a letter to US President Donald Trump during his visit to Washington this weekend, according to media reports Thursday. Kim, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, is expected to arrive in the US capital on Thursday. He will meet Trump at the White House, following a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday. The senior official arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport on Thursday for United Airlines flight UA808 bound for Washingto


By The Korea Herald
January 18, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Brexit deal refusal to have limited impact on Korean economy

Seoul vows to speed up efforts for Korea-Britain bilateral trade deal, bracing for post-Brexit era. The British parliament’s latest rejection of the government’s proposed Brexit deal is likely to have a limited impact on global financial markets as well as the South Korean economy, Seoul’s government said Wednesday. Vowing pre-emptive steps to counter a possible fallout, Korean authorities will work on preparations for a bilateral free trade deal with Britain, as the latter will no longer be subject to the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement upon Brexit. “The vote to reject the Brexit deal was seen to have a limited impact on global financial ma


By The Korea Herald
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Beijing rebukes French, German ambassadors

Beijing says award for Chinese lawyer is politically motivated. Beijing on Wednesday slammed the French and German ambassadors to China after they granted a human rights award to a detained Chinese lawyer, saying their wrongdoing gravely violated China’s internal affairs. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China has lodged stern representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction, as well as firm opposition, to the ambassadors’ action. The relevant case is purely judicial, which has nothing to do with human rights, the ministry said. The wrongdoings of Germany and France gravely interfered with China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, the ministry said. China urges the ambassadors of relevant countries to do more to develop bilateral relations and enhance political mutual trust, not the opposite, it added. The lawyer, Yu Wensheng, was detained


By China Daily
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Singapore-Malaysia relations still ‘good’, says Malaysian Foreign Minister

Ties between Malaysia and Singapore are still “good” despite ongoing air and maritime disputes between the two countries. “Our relations with Singapore remain good. There are some issues but we are talking to each other, and that is very important,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Wednesday (Jan 16), “Most importantly, the discussions are going on. I am confident the discussions are moving in the right direction.” He said five senior government officials will meet with their Singaporean counterparts to discuss ongoing issues. Besides Mr Saifuddin, the others are Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Ministry secretary-general Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob. Both Singapore and Malaysia are currently locked in two separate disputes – over 


By The Straits Times
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019